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Waterfront a draw for tourists (6/03)

By ANDREW WAREING Fort Frances’ redeveloped waterfront promises to be “icing on the cake” for visitors to the community in 2003, its mayor says. The La Verendrye Parkway has been the focus of redevelopment for several years.

By ANDREW WAREING

Fort Frances’ redeveloped waterfront promises to be “icing on the cake” for visitors to the community in 2003, its mayor says.

The La Verendrye Parkway has been the focus of redevelopment for several years. That redevelopment comes to an end this summer with an official opening planned for July 1, says Fort Frances Mayor Glenn Witherspoon. The completion comes in time for the community’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

“It’s been like a cake without icing and we’ve put the icing on it,” he says. “It really enhances the

waterfront.

“We’re very excited,” says John McTaggart, chair of the La Verendrye Parkway advisory committee that has advised the town on the waterfront development. “It’s been a long time coming. This has taken a real commitment on the part of the community, town council and senior levels of government.

“There’s no question that this will be a real jewel in the crown for this town,” McTaggart says.

The La Verendrye Parkway encompasses more than three kilometres of Fort Frances’ waterfront along the Rainy River and its redevelopment has resulted in scenic landscaped parks, walkways and bicycle paths.

The marina has also been expanded with space for well over 100 boats, says Witherspoon, adding

that the boat launch is also “very accessible”.

“The residents use it immensely, often bringing visitors there to enjoy it. It really enhances the waterfront,” Witherspoon says.

McTaggart says the area should prove an attractive stop for travellers.

  “Fort Frances is an important port of entry between Canada and the U.S., as well as being on an alternative route between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg,” he says. “It’s also an asset on the route from the river to Rainy Lake. It’s really going to give people a reason to stop.”

The development of a condominium along the Parkway, as well as planned renovations to the entrance of the hospital at the west end of the Parkway are expected to add to its esthetic appeal, McTaggart says.

Fort Frances’ redeveloped waterfront promises to be “icing on the cake” for visitors to the community in 2003, its mayor says.

The La Verendrye Parkway has been the focus of redevelopment for several years. That redevelopment comes to an end this summer with an official opening planned for July 1, says Fort Frances Mayor Glenn Witherspoon. The completion comes in time for the community’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

“It’s been like a cake without icing and we’ve put the icing on it,” he says. “It really enhances the waterfront.

“We’re very excited,” says John McTaggart, chair of the La Verendrye Parkway advisory committee that has advised the town on the waterfront development. “It’s been a long time coming. This has taken a real commitment on the part of the community, town council and senior levels of government.

“There’s no question that this will be a real jewel in the crown for this town,” McTaggart says.

The La Verendrye Parkway encompasses more than three kilometres of Fort Frances’ waterfront along the Rainy River and its redevelopment has resulted in scenic landscaped parks, walkways and bicycle paths.

The marina has also been expanded with space for well over 100 boats, says Witherspoon, adding that the boat launch is also “very accessible”.

“The residents use it immensely, often bringing visitors there to enjoy it. It really enhances the waterfront,” Witherspoon says.

McTaggart says the area should prove an attractive stop for travellers.

  “Fort Frances is an important port of entry between Canada and the U.S., as well as being on an

alternative route between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg,” he says. “It’s also an asset on the route from the river to Rainy Lake. It’s really going to give people a reason to stop.”

The development of a condominium along the Parkway, as well as planned renovations to the entrance of the hospital at the west end of the Parkway are expected to add to its esthetic appeal, McTaggart says.

  

 He says that these additional elements could also attract new residents who are looking for the lifestyle that the community and its amenities offer.

Witherspoon says the project has been a long-term development, beginning with completion of the first phase in the early 1990s and progressing slowly as money became available. Development of the park has cost $10 million, with funds from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. making up almost half of the cost, as well as municipal funding from reserves and debentures.

“It’s been a very expensive project, but we think it will prove worth every penny,” McTaggart says.

“About 15 or 20 years ago many communities in Ontario recognized the value of their parks - particularly ones with water access,” says Witherspoon. “I would say we followed the course. We hired a consultant who depicted an environment that would enhance our town and that’s how we got going.”

“It’s now a reality and its just great,” says Witherspoon.




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